Dec. 17, 2002

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Ohio State (5-2, 0-0 Big Ten) tips off against Virginia (4-3, 0-0 ACC) at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 18, in Value City Arena. On Friday night, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m., the Buckeyes tip off against the Penguins of Youngstown State in VCA. These two games are the second and third consecutive home game for the Buckeyes this month. The contests against Austin Peay (Dec. 29) and Northwestern (Dec. 31) will also be held in Value City Arena before Ohio State takes on Texas in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge Jan. 5 in historic St. John Arena.

Ohio State leads the all-time series with the ACC’s Virginia, 4-1. OSU is 8-6 against ACC schools.

Last season, three-point shooting specialist DiDi Reynolds steered Ohio State to an 88-79 overtime win at Virginia in Charlottesville on Dec. 18, 2001.Reynolds’ performance began at the close of the first half when she drilled a 40-foot triple from the left side just before the halftime buzzer to close OSU’s deficit to single digits (37-30) heading into the locker room. The Bascom, Ohio, native shot 80 percent from the floor and scored a game- and career-high 26 points, connecting on 4-of-5 three-point goals.

A three-pointer by Cavalier guard Telisha Quarles with 8:34 remaining in the game allowed UVA a 59-49 lead. Forward Courtney Coleman fueled the Buckeyes with seven points in a 19-10 rally that pulled Ohio State within one point, 69-68, with 38.3 seconds on the clock. Coleman, who fouled out on the ensuing trip down the floor, and Charisse Crews sent two opponents to the line who converted 2-of-4 free throws to lead 71-68 with 5.8 seconds on the clock.With the clock running, Reynolds launched a 26-footer to send the game into overtime. The Buckeyes dominated in the extra period outscoring their hosts 17-8 for the win.

All five starters for Ohio State finished in double figures. In addition to Reynolds’ 26 points, Coleman finished with 15 points, D’wan Shackleford tallied 14, Lauren Shenk scored 13 and Tomeka Brown earned 12. Coleman and Shackleford led all players with eight rebounds apiece.

Virginia has begun the 2002-03 season with a 4-3 start, including a victory at No. 22 Old Dominion (63-55) to open the 26th campaign for UVA’s head coach Debbie Ryan. The Cavaliers also captured wins over St.Joseph’s (66-37), Long three losses for Virginia thus far came at the hands of Liberty Unvierstiy (77-69) in an overtime battle, Virginia Tech (72-56) and Furman (58-56).

Cherrise Graham, a 5-7 sophomore guard, is leading the Cavaliers with 15.0 points per game. Classmate Brandi Teamer, a forward who stands at 6-2 and tallies 11.3 points per outing, is the only other UVA player averaging double-digit scoring.

In her 25 years at the helm of the Virginia women’s basketball program, Debbie Ryan has averaged 22.4 wins per season, recorded 20 or more wins in a season 18 times and 30 or more twice and compiled a 561-210 record. In 2002, she guided her youthful Cavaliers to their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance with a 17-13 overall mark.

No other team in the ACC has been ranked in the AP and USA Today polls more total or consecutive weeks than the Cavaliers. Her teams have been to 19 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, second only to Tennessee and Louisiana Tech. She directed UVA to three consecutive Final Four appearances in the 1990s.

Other measures of Ryan’s success include 12 appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16, including 11 straight trips from 1987-97, three Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament titles, three straight Final Four appearances, the 1990 and 1992 East Regional titles, the 1991 Midwest Regional title, and 11 ACC regular-season crowns. She was selected as the 1991 Naismith Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, and has won the ACC Coach of the Year award seven times. She was named the Converse District III Coach of the Year and 2000 IKON/WBCA District III Coach of the Year and earned state-wide recognition as the Virginia state Coach of the Year four times.

The last and only time Ohio State and Youngstown State met was March 3, 1979, in the Ohio Association of Intercollegiate Sports for Women Tournament held in Akron. The Buckeyes, who finished with a 19-11 record that year under the direction of Debbie Wilson, won 62-56.

Youngstown State has a 2-5 record this season. The Penguins recorded wins at Bowling Green (70-64) and vs. Robert Morris (82-68), but fell to Niagara (80-62), Vanderbilt (91-60), Central Michigan (56-51), Toledo (70-61), and Kent State (74-70). In their most recent loss, Youngstown State committed 16 second-half turnovers and squandered a nine-point second-half advantage en route to a 74-70 loss to Kent State Dec. 15. Sophomore Jen Perugini posted 12 points and junior Jessica Forsythe recorded her second double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Maggie Johnston, Forsythe and Devin Novak are averaging 10.4, 10.1 and 10.0 points an outing for the Penguins. YSU played host to Buffalo Wednesday night.

Now in his 20th season at the helm of the Penguin program, DiGregorio, who owns a career record of 313-219, has guided the Penguins through three league affiliations, an independent status, five consecutive regular-season league championships, five straight 20-win seasons, three conference tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA tournament, including a second-round appearance in 1998. DiGregorio, a two-time coach of the year honoree, looks to improve his squad this year. Entering 2002-03, the Penguins are coming off their second straight losing season with a an overall mark of 12-16 last season and a 10-18 record in 2000-01.

The two head coaches in the Ohio State-Virginia battle bring a wealth of knowledge to Value City Arena. Between Ohio State’s Jim Foster and Virginia’s Debbie Ryan, there lies over half a century of experience as a head coach on the hardwood. Foster is entering his 25th year at the helm of collegiate women’s basketball programs and Ryan began her 26th season this year.

Ohio State’s Jom Foster and Virginia’s Debbie Ryan are no strangers. The two coaching veterans have met on the hardwood many times before. When Foster was at Vanderbilt, his Commmodore squads played four times against Ryan’s Cavaliers and the teams split, each coach taking two victories. However, Foster and Ryan have not always been on opposite sides of the floor. The pair coached together at the 1987 Olympic Festival and the 1989 World Junior Championships.

After opening the season playing five of six games on the road, the Buckeyes will be anxiously looking forward to playing six games in Columbus from now until Jan. 9. While the remaining games in December will all be held at Value City Arena, the Jan. 5 Big Ten/Big XII contest against Texas will be held in historic St. John Arena and will be the first nationally televised game (ESPN2) for Ohio State under first-year head coach Jim Foster.

Sophomore Caity Matter has scored in double figures in six of the first seven games. Matter tallied 13 at Duquesne, 12 in the home opener against Wayne State, 16 vs. Hartford, a career-high 24 at UW-Green Bay, 19 at Ohio and 16 in the victory over a ranked Arizona team.

Senior D’wan Shackleford blocked four shots in the 64-36 victory over Ohio University Dec. 13. Shackleford is inching her way into the all-time Ohio State career list with 48 total blocks over her four years as a Buckeye. “Shack” has blocked five shots this season. Junior LaToya Turner added two blocked shots against the Bobcats and holds the fourth-best record for career blocks with 87. Turner currently has 14 on the year.

Sophomore Caity Matter outscored the entire Ohio University team, 17-11, in the first half of play at The Convo in Athens, Ohio, Dec. 13. The sharp-shooting guard nailed all three treys in the first three possessions of the game for OSU. Matter ended up with a game-high 19 points, four boards, two steals and no turnovers in 26 minutes of play. Notably, the 17 points Matter racked up in the first 20 minutes at Ohio matched her previous career-high total until it was broken the week before with a 24-point effort at UW-Green Bay.

Freshman Kim Wilburn started in her first collegiate basketball game last Friday night in The Convo against Ohio University. The Michigan native clocked a game-high 34 minutes and earned a personal-best eight points (4-for-4), six assists and four steals. Wilburn also was in the starting lineup against No. 19/24 Arizona and upped her career-high assist mark from six to eight and played a personal-high 34 minutes for the second straight game.

Senior DiDi Reynolds scored a personal season-high 11 points against the Wildcats of Arizona Dec. 15. Reynolds, a senior guard for Bascom, Ohio, was 4-for-8 from the field, 2-for-5 from three-point land and hit the only free-throw she took for the game. Reynolds also grabbed two rebounds, handed out one assist and earned one steal vs. the Wildcats.

Ohio State has been plagued by turnover troubles in the first few games of the season. However, in the game against Arizona, the Buckeyes turned the ball over a season-low 12 times and ended up with a huge 84-65 victory. The win was the first over a ranked opponent for first-year OSU head coach Jim Foster since he took over at the helm of the Buckeye program this season.

Three times this season four Buckeyes have scored in double digits in the same game. The last time the team effort came into play was Dec. 15 against Arizona in Value City Arena. Courtney Coleman, Caity Matter, LaToya Turner and DiDi Reynolds scored 18, 16, 14 and 11 points, respectively, in the 84-65 victory over the Wildcats.

Junior LaToya Turner came alive against Arizona after a pair of relatively quiet games. Turner, a center from Pickerington, earned a double-double against the Wildcats with 14 points and a game-high 12 boards. She also distributed a personal-best five assists against Arizona.

Senior D’wan Shackleford has been a solid force from the bench for the Buckeyes this season. After a 12-point, six-rebound effort at UW-Green Bay, “Shack” came alive in the second half of play at Ohio University Dec.13 by scoring 13 of her 15 total points, grabbing a game-best eight rebounds and rejecting four shots.

Sophomore Caity Matter, who is leading the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game (3.0), is making her way into OSU history. She has a total of 39 three-pointers over 24 games, including 21 treys in seven games thus far in the 2002-03 campaign. The Bluffton, Ohio, native, who redshirted last season and missed 16 games her freshman year due to injury, drained 18 three-pointers the entire 2000-01 season.

Jim Foster’s 2002-03 Buckeyes have outrebounded every team they have taken on this year. They are averaging 36.1 boards to their opponent’s 25.7 caroms a game and rank second among league leaders in rebounding margin (+10.4).

The Buckeyes’ 84-65 victory over No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15 marked the first win over a ranked squad for Jim Foster since he took over the reigns of the Ohio State program earlier this season.

In the two home contests the Buckeyes have played this season, 4,350 people have been there to support them. The largest crowd was 2,596 last Sunday, Dec. 15 against a ranked Arizona squad.

Jim Foster’s squad has put together five wins so far this season. In the five victories for the Buckeyes, they have beaten their opponents by an average margin of 20.1 points an outing. That figure ranks third among Big Ten schools.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked second among Big Ten competitors in the category of field-goal percentage. Jim Foster’s squad is .525 (210-400) from the floor. Individually, senior forward Courtney Coleman is leading the league in field-goal percentage with a .797 (51-64) average. Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen is the next closest player with a .667 (70-105) shooting percentage. Additionally, sophomore Caity Matter leads the conference in shooting accuracy from behind the arc (.477/21-44) and from the free-throw line (1.000/15-15).

Freshman Kim Wilburn, who started at Ohio and against Arizona, is ranked second with a 2.27 ratio among conference players in the assist-to-turnover-ratio category.

Ohio State is 2-0 against opponents in Value City Arena this season. The Buckeyes beat Wayne State, 100-57, Nov. 22 and captured an exciting 84-65 victory over No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15. Big Ten member schools are defending their home courts well this year by amassing a 36-5 combined league record at the school’s respective homes.

Two games this season that will be held in St. John Arena. After the Buckeyes open their Big Ten season in Value City Arena against Northwestern at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, they will participate in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge game vs. Texas in St. John Arena at 5 p.m. Jan. 5. The second event in St. John Arena will be the final regular-season game against Michigan at 7 p.m. Feb. 27. The 1993 Final Four team will be commemorated during the battle with the Wolverines.

After a back-and-forth battle with No.19/24 Arizona in the first half of play, the Buckeyes dominated the second period to capture the 84-65 win over the Wildcats last Sunday, Dec. 15 in front of 2,596 people at Value City Arena. The win was the first over a ranked team for OSU head coach Jim Foster since he took over the helm of the Buckeye program this season.

For the third time this season, four Buckeyes scored in double digits. Senior Courtney Coleman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Hughes), sophomore Caity Matter (Bluffton, Ohio/ Bluffton), junior LaToya Turner (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington) and senior DiDi Reynolds (Bascom, Ohio/Hopewell-Louden) tallied 18, 16, 14 and 11 points, respectively. Turner, who dished out a career-high five assists, added a game-high 12 rebounds to account for her seventh career and second season double-double.

“From my point-of-view, we played a lot better than we have been, “Foster said. “Beating a ranked team doesn’t matter until March. How we played and our basketball IQ was impressive (today). We did a much better job of taking care of the ball (in the second half ). We identified their 3-point shooters better and they didn’t have as many 3-point shots.”